Instagram has finally made some feature updates to Instagram Direct that finally makes it a true messaging service, and also eliminating annoying habits many on Instagram have right now.
Announced in a blog post today, version 7.5 is currently available for both iOS and Android.
The primary improvement to the feature is that you can finally send content from your feed as a Direct Message. Previously, Instagram Direct was limited to original photographs to share with others. Now, users can share photos directly with one another, and clicking that photo will bring the user back to the source.
Introducing this photo share eliminates the common practice of tagging friends within the comments of photos — which can often clutter up a user’s feed on especially popular photos. By creating direct shares, that annoying practice could be curbed quickly.
Additionally, users can now quick reply with selfies directly to the group. Direct also supports emojis finally, so users can finally respond to pictures with little in-text pictures.
Structurally, Direct has undergone a makeover as well. Instagram has introduced threaded comments and named groups, finally centering the conversation on the people having it rather than multiple photos. So, if you send a photo to your two BFFs, you won’t create a separate conversation when you send them a selfie and hour later.
Named groups is a good complement to that — it makes the experience feel a little more like chatting on Instagram’s parent company, Facebook.
It’s funny that Instagram is updating with these features now, as its clear these small support improvements are practically integral to every communication method out there today. But it’s also a bold move for the company, which has been focused on one-to-many and then one-to-one or one-to-few photo sharing.
Now, conversations can actually built around photos and with photos, creating context and a more enjoyable experience overall. It’s about time.